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Blackpool Pleasure Beach!, 03/08/09 Trip Report
Luke
post Aug 22 2009, 2:48 PM
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Park: Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Date: Monday August 3rd, 11:30 - 18:30

Weather: Mostly sunshine with a little hailstone!

Company: Dad, Grandad & Brother

I don't often write trip reports, mainly because the only park I visit is Alton so they would get a little tedious! However, a few weeks back I decided that it would be nice to visit Blackpool Pleasure Beach. After Alton Towers and Drayton Manor (and Camelot, if that counts!) it's the closest theme/amusement park to my home - about an hour and a half drive, and seeing as I hadn't been since 2006 I thought it would be nice to go somewhere a little different! We usually visit The Pleasure Beach at least once a year, but for some reason didnít get the opportunity during 2007 or 2008, or, if I'm being honest, decided that Alton's a more enjoyable day out and a lot less hassle!

We pre-booked 2 tickets online for both me and my brother - £20 each is a very reasonable deal. My Dad had contemplated buying a ticket for himself too, but decided against it as Grandad wouldíve been sitting around all day - the roller coasters are a bit too much for a 79 year old man!

We arrived at Blackpool at around 11am, parked our car (£6 for the day), and headed off to collect our tickets. I really like the new Guest Services area - it's very posh and suave inside, and is just one of a few changes since my last visit.

Our first ride of the day was the Ghost Train, which although aimed at the kids always brings a smile to my face. I love it how the cars whizz past at the front of the facade, and the way the ride operator actually looks like he has been sitting there for 100 years pulling the same lever back and forth. The legendary "skeletons on bicycles" scene and that deafening fairground siren only add to its charm. It is an old ride, it isnít as technologically advanced as most rides we see nowadays, and it is extremely tacky, but all in all - it is a fun ride, so what is there to complain about if people enjoy it? 6.5/10

The queue for the Ghost Train was 20 minutes, and this was probably the longest we waited for any ride during the whole day. I've never had a problem with queues at BPB, and every time I've visited it has been during fairly busy periods i.e. summer holidays/weekends. Combined with the long opening hours (10.00-20.00) there's no reason as to why anybody shouldn't be able to get on all of the rides in the park, with plenty of repeat rides too.

Fortunately, like Alton Towers, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is able to boast a wide range of roller coasters for visitors to choose from. Unfortunately however, also like Alton, they are unable to offer very many flat rides. For such a park, you'd think that flats would be their favourite type of ride (if only for their small footprint), and I can't help but feel this is what they're lacking at the moment, along with an absolutely world-class roller coaster akin to Nemesis of course!

This brings me nicely on to Bling, our second ride of the day and with exception to Samurai, my favourite flat ride in the whole of the UK. (Dynamo wouldíve been number one, hadnít have Alton been such greedy buggers!) I know that some people aren't very fond of these sorts of 'spinny' rides, but I absolutely love them - Bling gives you a great feeling, and for some bizarre reason was only heightened during the onslaught of hailstone! A fantastic ride and unlike Spin Doctor, I really hope that Blackpool keep hold of it! 9/10

Our third ride of the day was Valhalla. There's not really much that I can say which hasnít been said before about this ride. Quite simply, itís the best water ride in the country, and I doubt that there are many out there who would dispute that! All of the effects were working perfectly, and this was something that I picked up on during the day - they seem to be maintaining the rides a lot better than they did a few years ago, in regards to both breakdowns and special effects, (except for perhaps The Big Dipper)! Whether or not I was just lucky on the day that I visited I don't know, but this was something that I felt has definitely improved. 10/10

Infusion was our next ride. It's the only one there that I hadn't been on before so I was really looking forward to it! It's visually quite a nice ride with the dark blue track and the water underneath - I think Blackpool have done a pretty decent job at integrating the ride into that space. In terms of ride experience, well, you can definitely tell it's a Vekoma! That's not a bad thing though, at least IMO as I think a bit of roughness can add to the experience. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good roller coaster with some great inversions and a decent layout. I thought it would be a little more forceful than it was though - the Gís were not as noticeable as they are on some other roller coasters, but itís certainly a worthwhile addition to the ride line-up at BPB. We rode Infusion twice and I would give it a 7.5/10.

Pepsi Max Big One was our next ride, the flagship attraction at BPB and a must-ride for any day visitor. The first drop is immense, but I do tend to agree when people say that the rest of the ride isn't fantastic as it's just a succession of hills. We went on PMBO 3 times and were sitting near the back every time which means a rougher ride - it can really rock you around the carriage but I just think this adds to the experience. I always seem to come off this ride and run down the exit ramp like a little kid, so although it will never beat Nemesis, I have to say I prefer it to Oblivion, only just mind. 8/10

Next up was the legendary Wild Mouse. You know when you get to that stage that when you've visited a theme park so many times and ridden all the roller coasters that no ride in the world will ever bother you again, even if you've never been on it? Well, for me, hereís the exception to that rule! The Wild Mouse at Blackpool sounds like the most timid ride youíre ever likely to go on, but the reality is something a bit different. Those cars travel at such a high speed around those sharp bends, I always find myself saying ďwhy am I doing thisĒ whilst travelling up that rickety lift-hill. Saying all that, thereís not one ride in this world that makes me laugh as much as the Wild Mouse. A great one to take unsuspecting friends and relatives on, I hope Blackpool will always have a place for it! 9/10

The final roller coaster of our day was Irn Bru Revolution, a fantastic and arguably much underrated ride. The vertical loop is such a tight inversion and produces some fantastic Gís, and of course the added element of launching backwards brings something a bit different. 8/10

Unfortunately we didn't ride on The Steeplechase (I find this much more fun in larger groups - similarly with the Dodgems which we usually go on about 5 times)! We also missed out on Ice Blast which just wasn't worth the 30 minute wait for such a short (and not that brilliant) ride, and sadly The Grand National which I do like, but within that time preferred to ride the steel coasters.

We had decided to meet with Dad and Grandad at 6pm outside Pasaje Del Terror for our last ride of the day. I've only ever been on this twice before, both times during separate visits in 2004, and I really didn't think that much of it. However, they've definitely worked on the attraction since then, and have thankfully employed a team of actors which are hard-working and talented - 1 or 2 were quite rude and abrupt in 2004. I actually recognised one of them from Alton Towers Scarefest last year; he worked outside around Gloomy Wood and Haunted Hollow. Anyway, we were sorted into a group of seven; us four and a group of teenage girls. They didnít want to go at the front so I did the manly thing and offered to swap with them. They then said that they didn't want to go at the back either, so they were placed in the middle with my brother at the front, me in second, and my Dad and Grandad at the back.

Pasaje Del Terror is very similar to the 2002 version of Terror of the Towers, thereís very little dialogue and scripting as the emphasis is placed heavily on Ďjumpingí scares, my favourite type of scare! The first major scare happens in the graveyard, where a rather hideous looking creature smashes his shovel against the bars. First major jump!

Like with most other scare attractions, they obviously target the people who are screaming the most. They went for the girls in the middle of the group, especially the one right behind me which obviously meant that I got a lot of the scares too!

We then move through a tight corridor where thereís another hideous monster seated to the left. You know that something's going to happen but you just donít know when. At the last possible second he lurched forward towards me - second major jump!

The next scene that stands out is the Clown Scene, I remembered this one from last time but the pesky sod had found a new place to hide, meaning the third major jump!

Next up was the dreaded Exorcist scene, the one that everyone talks about and the one I wasnít looking forward to at all. Thankfully, the make-up is nowhere near as frightening or vulgar as the film version so I was able to keep an eye on that pesky creature. Surprisingly she didnít actually go for the girls but went for my Dad and Grandad instead, probably because we had already ran out before she had a chance to reach over!

I canít remember exactly what was next, but I think it was the Hellraiser scene. Again, this scare is more effective if youíre at the back of the group. The guy talks down a loud speaker whilst maintaining eye contact with the first person (Ben has never been on before and kept saying to me "what's he saying Luke" in a rather worried tone!) He then disappears around a corner and constantly harasses the person at the back of the group.

The next monster was Freddy Kruger. The mask isn't that fantastic but the scenery was brilliant as it gave the actor numerous opportunities to scare. He made me jump at least twice and had the girls falling over almost!

The final scene is a scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Again I knew it was coming so I couldn't help but look for the actor as we were walking over the rattling bridge. I spotted him and I think he realised as he waited until we'd passed. Itís definitely a brilliant ending for the unsuspecting people though as the girls proved. The one behind me said that she would buy me a new hoodie as she'd been grabbing on that hard around my waist! I think that only added to the experience though - it obviously fired up the actors even more and made me a lot more tense than I would've been! Although Ben didn't get many scares, he still said that it was a very nerve-wrecking experience as he had to lead the way, especially as he hadn't been on it before. Dad and Grandad also agreed that it was fantastic and it had us laughing all the way home with the different stories - my Grandad actually got lost at one point (how do you get lost when you're following?) and walked head first into a door. My Dad seriously considered leaving him there. Also countless stories of "that bugger" following him made me chuckle. It was certainly worth the £6.50 and I would recommend it to anyone!

Overall, I honestly thought that Pasaje Del Terror was streets ahead of the 2007 and 2008 versions of Terror of the Towers. However "easy" and "cheap" some people try to brand Ďjumpingí scares as, the fact is that they work brilliantly, and I can honestly say I only got one or at a push two of these scares in TOTT. In contrast, I was an absolute nervous wreck walking through Pasaje, my legs turned to jelly and any slight movement made me jump! I really hope that Alton focus less on the storylines/contraptions/twists, and just focus more on scaring the crap out of people like in 2002 and 2003! The Boiler House is probably the most similar maze to Pasaje, and that was widely regarded as the best one last year! I must also point out that we were a relatively small group (seven), so this obviously helps things too. 9.5/10

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my day out at BPB. It has changed a little since I last went, they've built a few new snazzy eateries, along with the new Guest Services and those brilliant fountains - the 2 shows I saw played the songs "Hooked On A Can Can" by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and "Music" by John Miles, both excellent choices that really complimented the fountains.

I feel it is important that Blackpool continue to invest in modern additions such as those mentioned above so that they are able to compete in the 21st century, but more importantly I feel it's the way that they integrate the new additions with the old classics that is the key to success. Blackpool is partly about the tackiness for example The Ghost Train and The Wild Mouse which would both be big losses to the park, as they help to produce that 'charm' and 'character' which Thorpe Park, Drayton Manor and to a lesser extent Alton can never really equal.

I came away from Blackpool and for the following 4/5 days was slightly depressed. I've always felt this way after visiting Alton for the following few days (even after my 150th visit recently), - that feeling that you just want to return and never leave, and this was the first time Iíve ever felt it after visiting another park. I know that I could never feel like that after visiting Thorpe Park for instance, and The Pleasure Beach and my visit on August 3rd will always live long in my memory. I will definitely be visiting next year, and may even squeeze in a trip later this year, officially my second favourite park in the country!

Thanks for reading. Here are the seven photos that I took during the day of Infusion, The Big Dipper and my brother in the fountains (I know that's not many, but who wants to be messing with a camera when you're enjoying yourself?!?)















This post has been edited by Luke: Aug 22 2009, 3:10 PM
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AstroDan
post Aug 23 2009, 9:58 PM
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You do seem to rate some of PBB's rides such as Bling and PMBO that I think are rubbish! But I guess everyone is different. Bling is so dull and boring compared to a ride such as Samurai (even Samurai on a poor setting is preferable...!) and PMBO is a very average ride... compare to coasters such as EGF, Silver Star - or even rides within the Pleasure Beach itself. Wild Mouse is awesome though, just for the sheer "raw" ness of the experience. It's crazy!

Looks like a good day though - queue's are rarely a problem at PBB. I only recall ever waiting more than 1/2 hr for a ride there - and that was PMBO on a day when they only had one train on back in 2007.

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meames
post Aug 23 2009, 11:06 PM
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It is very much each to their own, I too quite like the Big One...after taking me years and years to pluck up the courage, I rather look forward to riding it now.


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garyholc
post Aug 24 2009, 12:30 PM
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I like the drop on the PMBO especially at the back, but thats it, the rest of the ride is quite boring, especially the last section where you go around the spiral at 2mph then speed back up when you are going into the brake run at the end??!!??

Wild Mouse has to be my fave ride in BPB mainly due to just how mental it is and the injuries it inflicts on you! This is closely followed by the Big Dipper and the Grand National.
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eyeamthu1
post Aug 24 2009, 1:25 PM
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Has the Wild Mouse returned to its original crazy state then? I went on in 2007 perhaps and absolutely loved it... then the ride went down for a rehab / retrack etc. and when I next went on it, it had definitely lost some of its 'madness'. Hope that's creeping back in smile.gif

I quite like the Big One... it offers something different to your usual hypercoaster. It's not great, but it's decent enough. Completely agreed on Valhalla - I think it's exceptional. Infusion; don't particularly like the ride, but PBB have still done a great job with its presentation - it looks great, and the setting does go some way to masking the ride's deficiencies. Don't like Irn Bru Revolution at all.

Glad to hear Pasaje Del Terror is good - will have to try that someday.


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John
post Aug 25 2009, 12:58 AM
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I pop this on the internet perhaps once a year, and it's always met with the same response. But here goes.

Valhalla is completely naff.
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Luke
post Aug 25 2009, 3:52 AM
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QUOTE (AstroDan @ Aug 23 2009, 10:58 PM) *
You do seem to rate some of PBB's rides such as Bling and PMBO that I think are rubbish! But I guess everyone is different. Bling is so dull and boring compared to a ride such as Samurai (even Samurai on a poor setting is preferable...!) and PMBO is a very average ride... compare to coasters such as EGF, Silver Star - or even rides within the Pleasure Beach itself.

Yeah as Meames says, it's each to their own. Nemesis is perhaps the only ride in the land that I've never heard a negative thing about! As I say, I do prefer Samurai, but I still love Bling, although it didn't seem as fast as in 2006! PMBO - I can understand why you say it's average, after the first drop at least, but I suppose it's like Oblivion, the sheer height and intensity of the first drop makes the ride for me.

QUOTE (eyeamthu1 @ Aug 24 2009, 2:25 PM) *
Has the Wild Mouse returned to its original crazy state then? I went on in 2007 perhaps and absolutely loved it... then the ride went down for a rehab / retrack etc. and when I next went on it, it had definitely lost some of its 'madness'. Hope that's creeping back in smile.gif

Glad to hear Pasaje Del Terror is good - will have to try that someday.

Yeah, the Wild Mouse was incredible, the cars actually lifted up around those corners, and I was flung out of my seat on the hills towards the end of the ride. Very intense stuff!

I suspect I was very lucky on Pasaje to be fair - we were put in a very good and small group and all of the actors seemed really into it. I'd love to think it was like that all the time but I can't see it to be honest, haunted mazes seem to be very hit-and-miss.
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garyholc
post Aug 25 2009, 8:06 AM
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QUOTE (John @ Aug 25 2009, 1:58 AM) *
I pop this on the internet perhaps once a year, and it's always met with the same response. But here goes.
Valhalla is completely naff.

Hmmm, when everything is working inside, I wouldnt say its naff because the themeing in there is pretty awesome in place. However, I do think you get stupidly insanely wet on the ride which tends to spoil it, especially if the weather is poo.
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haunted one
post Aug 26 2009, 8:29 AM
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Went to the Pleasure Beach yesterday and managed to get on everything except Valhalla because we didn't want to get soaked. It was a family day and I must say that we had an excellent day. A break from Alton Towers. The queues were quick and the rides were good. It was nice to ride some historic rides. This is something that Alton Towers hasn't got. I know that Alton hasn't got the ride history but they will never be able to do that because they don't seem to want to keep some rides for nostalga.
Anyway one ride that seems to get over looked at the plaesure beach is the old velvet coaster, as a family coaster it is nonstop laugh and thrills. Was sad to see that Trauma Towers and Space Invader had closed down. Anyway it was a great change from Alton Towers. By the way its cheaper to Park at Alton Towers. So really we shouldn't complain about that.
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